Ooh you wouldn’t get that in your bath…and other admiring phrases were heard from a packed harbour wall at Los Cristianos as the four mast barque Sea Cloud began a new era of leisure cruise visitors.
Advance reports said it would moor offshore and shuttle passengers to their short Tenerife stop off but I was delighted to see it nestled up to the port as Fred Olsen and Armas ferries inched respectfully around it. Once on the dockside I could appreciate the sheer size of the 3,077 ton yacht built in 1931 at Kiel shipyard. The 316 foot length (96 metres) Hassar as it was originally christened fitted snugly in port and a welcome table of Canarian food and wine awaited at the bottom of the gang plank as traditionally dressed dancers and musicians tuned up.
The 32 cabins of oak and Italian marble hold only 64 passengers and they seemed shy to come ashore and meet their large welcoming party but gradually they emerged and were given flowers and nibbles. I grabbed a few words with Wollmer a German from Berlin who had got on at Cadiz and he turned out to be an experienced sea dog. “This is my third cruise on Sea Cloud, it has a nice family feel, most of us on board are from Germany or Belgium. The weather has been good but the waves got a bit strong near Madeira and for two days it was quite lively.”
Wollmer had also been hiking in La Gomera and Tenerife before and was looking forward to seeing some old favourite spots. A coach was nearby waiting to whisk a few keen explorers to Teide national park but with only five hours in port it would be a whirlwind trip.
I really wanted a look around on board but the staff at the top of the gang plank weren’t having it, maybe I should have mentioned my nautical past – Captain Birdseye inspired me as I grew up. The free food wasn’t shifting that fast but lots of trays of goodies were being moved about on board just before the Arona mayor and friends joined the crew.
Sea Cloud certainly added a buzz to Los Cristianos waters before heading off to Las Palmas and will make a quick return on 16 November and Sea Cloud 2 gets in on the act on 18 November. The ships get bigger next year, The World with 550 passengers arrives on 25 February and Albatros (above) with 900 money spending tourists pops in on 18 April, 5 May, and 9 December.